July 16 2018 11:15:21.
By Keith Long
- Some Top-Quality Football Despite 6-4 Defeat
Continuing their build-up to the new season Beechfield United 1st Team arranged another friendly match against Manchester Football League opposition. Beechy met East Manchester at Wright Robinson Sports Complex and as expected the match proved to be hard fought and included ten goals. There was a lively start to the contest as both teams played at a fast pace and United created the first worthwhile move featuring Craig Massey and Kurtis Lee. East Manchester were quick to respond and a deep curling cross into the area was fisted away by Beechy's stand-in keeper Jordan Jones-Waite. A vital first time clearance by Marcus Belcher ended another fast counter-attack from United's opponents who moved the ball around with both pace and accuracy. Unselfish work from Kurtis Lee set-up a shooting opportunity for Alfie Belcher but Beechy's midfield man fired the ball straight at the keeper. East Manchester's No8 produced some long raking passes from his midfield position and on one occasion Jordan Jones-Waite had to race to the edge of the area to boot the ball downfield when under pressure.
United went a goal down after thirteen minutes and less than five minutes later conceded a second goal when East Manchester's No7 was allowed to run unchallenged from the halfway line and supply an easy finish. Beechy produced a positive response via some lightning attacks and Gareth Mooney, Carl Ravenscroft and Rob Lockley linked-up superbly to carve out a chance for Alfie Belcher who was just off target. Another piece of poor defending from United gifted East Manchester a 3-0 lead in the 23rd minute as Beechy's opponents continued to enjoy a greater share of the ball. A few decisions by the match official frustrated United who found themselves staring at a possible heavy defeat when on thirty two minutes East Manchester added a fourth goal. But United kept working hard in all areas and a great move between Rob Lockley, Gareth Mooney and Alfie Belcher opened up the East Manchester defence and Chris Ferris was unlucky not to score when he hammered the ball from twelve yards.
So far Beechy had failed to test the ability of the East Manchester keeper but he was eventually in action turning a free kick over the crossbar. After forty two minutes United reduced the arrears following a solo run down the right wing by Alfie Belcher who's low cross was neatly controlled by Kurtis Lee and the Beechy striker slotted the ball low into the corner of the net. Ninety seconds United were rewarded with goal number two thanks to great skill by Gareth Mooney and a well directed header from Craig Massey that resulted in another precise finish by Kurtis Lee. United manager Steven Erskine started the second half in midfield with Chris Ferris reverting to a defenders role and his performance made him a candidate for Man of the Match. Overall United were much better organised throughout the second forty five minutes and finding a better rhythm put East Manchester under pressure. Alfie Belcher evaded two strong challenges and managed to move the ball onto Kurtis Lee who was slightly off balance and he blasted his effort wide.
Then great play between Gareth Mooney and Rob Lockley carved out a shooting opportunity for Craig Massey but his attempt to beat the keeper sailed over the crossbar. East Manchester continued to rely on the counter-attack and for long periods their forwards found chances few and far between. Brilliant use of the ball by Steven Erskine started another delightful Beechy move that again included Gareth Mooney and Rob Lockley and the latter forced the keeper to save with his feet. On sixty three minutes Rob Lockley produced the highlight of the match when he made it 4-3 via a spectacular unstoppable free kick from 35 yards. Keeping the pressure on their opponents Beechy came close several times to forcing an equaliser but against the run of play East Manchester went 5-3 up in the 74th minute.
Not to be deterred United were soon back on the attack and creating more quality football had a few decent chances to score again. And Beechy were rewarded with a fourth goal after eighty four minutes when following a goal kick Kurtis Lee won a aerial duel and after holding off a defenders attempt to win the ball Rob Lockley casually fired it low past the advancing keeper. Four minutes later East Manchester's No8 had far too much time and space in midfield and after advancing forward curled the ball high into the net to earn his team a 6-4 victory.